I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power and the importance of our will. We have freedom to make choices every single day. Sometimes we choose the difficult path and sometimes we opt for the easy way. But either way, our will factors into how we live and why we do the things we do.
God’s will is like a powerful, raging river, full of grace and mercy, strength and provision. God’s will for us is our best-case scenario. Our will, on the other hand, can be a disjointed, downhill path – easy to walk on, but may lead us away from God’s best path for us.
The Bible says there’s a way that seems right to us, but in the end, can lead to death (see Proverbs 14:12). We need God’s input and His direction in our lives because He knows what’s best for us.
The problem is, if we don’t like His input, don’t want His input, or don’t believe He has all of the information that we do, we’ll step right over His will, walk around His will, and determine to go our own way. But what then?
Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord (Proverbs 19:2-3).
God has given us free will to choose our steps. And, He’s given us His precious promises so we can live healed, whole, and powerful lives. But the question is…just how teachable, trainable, and interruptible are we?
When God’s will crosses your will, what do you do? What’s your first response? Do you go your own way and do your own thing, or do you – in spite of your emotions and your feelings – jump in the river of His grace and direction and let Him carry you?
God’s Word reminds us, “I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We can. But so often, we don’t.
Read this great excerpt from by John Henry Newman (written in the 1800’s – taken from “Joy & Strength):
“Why is it that we in the very Kingdom of grace, surrounded by angels and preceded by saints, nevertheless can do so little, and instead of mounting with wings like eagles, grovel in the dust, and do but sin, and confess alternately? Is it that the ‘power’ of God is not in us? Is it literally that we are not ‘able’ to perform God’s commandments? God forbid. We are able. We DO have a power within us to do what we are commanded to do. What is it we lack? The power? No, the will. What we lack is the simple, earnest, sincere inclination and aim to use what God has given us, and what we have in us.”
Obedience to God brings power to our faith.
Every time I’ve forsaken the smooth path of selfishness that I might jump in the raging, unpredictable river of obedience, I’ve gained momentum in my walk of faith, I’ve learned on a new level just how powerful God is, and I’ve learned to mistrust my selfish inclinations on a whole new level.
Even Jesus submitted His will to His Father in Heaven. He came to earth specifically to do the Father’s will (See John 6:38). Likewise, we are here to do the Father’s will.
How is it that we so easily take the freedom He offers us and use it to go our own way? All around me I see people walking away from their commitments to love and to forgive and to live as Christ-followers. Not that we can do anything on our own, but as we stay closely linked in fellowship with the Father, He will move in us to will and to act according to His beautiful purposes for us (See Phil. 2:13).
What comes up when God crosses our will with a command to obey? Maybe you relate to a few of these visceral reactions. I know I do…
God is not looking for perfection. He knows we’re not going to get it right all of the time and yet still, He loves us deeply. What He really, truly wants from us is our trust. Do we believe that He is good? If we truly believe the truth about Him, then may we dare to leave our imagined rights on the riverbank and trust God to take us to that next place of purity, of promise, of provision. His ways are always best.
Every time I’ve chosen to obey – even when it cost me dearly – I came out the other side far more grounded and strengthened to do the next thing God had for me. Though it seems like an oxymoron to lose your footing in the river and gain your footing in faith – it happens, it’s true. And those who choose their own way miss out on the blessing of this adventure of faith and unfortunately reap the consequences of their unbelief and disobedience.
We must not take our cue from the masses around us. Many are running down the path of least resistance.
May we have the honor and the humility to:
• Trust God more than we trust ourselves
• Love Him more than we love our personal comforts
• Submit to His will more than we do our selfish ways
If we say we love Him but don’t obey Him, we don’t really know Him. If we say we follow Him but we repeatedly walk away from His invitation to jump in the river, we really aren’t following Him.
We are saved by grace, but we are identified as ones who listen to His voice and who do what He says.
“My sheep listen to My voice: I know them and they follow Me” (John 10:27)
Obey Him today, even if you don’t feel like it. God’s will for you is always your best-case scenario! And on the other side of that obedience wait blessing, power, and provision.